Tribute To A Comedy Giant: Robin Williams’ 10 Coolest Moments
When you’ve dominated the stand-up comedy circuit, Broadway, television, and the big screen, chances are everyone will have they’re own favorite, standout memory of you. But the one thing that doesn’t get talked about enough when it comes to the genius talent that was Robin Williams is the Oscar-winner’s sheer cool factor. VIBE has compiled the coolest moments from the man who could make the entire world laugh and cry in one scene. Salute! —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)
He Was Funny Enough To Hang With Richard Pryor
Legend has it that Richard Pryor’s two-fisted writing partner Paul Mooney discovered Robin Williams and slotted him in for a spot in the iconic funnyman’s groundbreaking and criminally short-lived NBC series. The Richard Pryor Show was canceled after only four episodes, but it was enough time for television executives to be impressed by the manic, quick-witted talent of Williams. One year later, the gifted stand-up comedian was starring in his own hit series Mork & Mindy.
He Battled The Fonz To A Draw
It was the perfect setup. Television producer and director Garry Marshall was looking for a platform to introduce his newest small screen creation, an alien named Mork from the planet Ork. The game-changing visionary behind such landmark sitcoms as Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley had only planned for his aforementioned intergalactic character to make a one-shot appearance. But when Mork dropped in on the Happy Days gang on February 28, 1978, the wacky, lovable character proved to be an instant draw. Peep the jukebox battle between the Fonz and Mork.
Robin Williams Made The Greatest Laugh
If you are going to roast arguably the most influential comedian of all time you have to bring it. So when a young Williams found himself at the podium poking fun of his hero Richard Pryor, he unleashed this gem: “18 years ago they’d greet him in small towns by tying a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree and then they’d try to hang him with it. This man’s a genius. Now who else could take all the forms of comedy, slapstick, satire, mime, standup and turn it into something that’ll offend everyone?” Genius knows genius.
Williams Could Name-Check Members Of The Roots
Following Williams’ tragic passing, the Roots’ frontman Questlove shared a story that underlined the funnyman’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s true all-around good guys. The omnipresent drummer and his Philadelphia crew had a chance meeting with Williams on an elevator during the 2001 Grammys. “This particular Sunday we were walking backstage and had to ride the elevator to the backstage area and we piled inside when suddenly this voice just said “questlove…..black thought….rahzel….the roots from Philadelphia!!!!,” he recalled on Facebook. That’s right you walked on this elevator saying to yourself “ain’t no way this old white dude knows my entire history and discography”….we laughed so hard.”
“That NEVER happened to is before,” Quest continued. “Someone a legend acknowledged us and really knew who we were (his son put him on to us) man it was a small 2 min moment in real life but that meant the world to me at the time. Everytime I saw him afterwards he tried to top his trivia knowledge on all things Roots associated. Simply because he knew that meant everything to me.” Class.
He Made Late Night His Bitch
Williams is no stranger to the talk show circuit. But when it came time for the force-of-nature and personal favorite of the late Johnny Carson to appear on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in 2013, he proved that he could still hijack a gabfest more than three decades into his career. “Your Scottish accent is so good I don’t understanding what you are saying,” joked Scotsman Ferguson as Williams turned on his wildman powers of improvisation. It was hilarious, unpredictable, and off color. In other words, it was classic Robin Williams.
And The Winner Is…
It took three nominations, but Williams finally scored his first Academy Award statue for his supporting role in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting. And in typical Williams fashion, his acceptance speech was funny, tear-inducing and irreverent all at once. “This might be the one time I’m speechless,” the emotional talent said, later graciously shouting-out the film’s fresh face writers: “Thank you Ben [Affleck] and Matt [Damon], I still want to see some ID…”
The Old Man Sparred With Louie C.K.
Even though he would go on to become one of the big screen’s most bankable and enduring names, Williams never forgot his TV roots. His understated 2012 appearance on Louis C.K.’s dark comedic series Louie (the two laughably mourned the loss of a thieving club owner who at one point is mourned by a room full of strippers) was so effortless that one would have thought he was a recurring character on the acclaimed FX show.
Robin, Whoopie and Billy Gave Some Much Needed Comic Relief
Even in the decadent, greed-is-good ’80s era, there was no shortage of charities to give a proverbial helping hand. Following the music-centered, famine-relief all-star projects Band Aid and USA for Africa, writer, producer and actor Bob Zmuda created an American version of the British organization. But instead of just helping fight poverty in Ethiopia, Comic Relief USA turned its attention towards the plight of America’s homeless. Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, and Robin Williams were asked to co-host the opening four-hour plus HBO show. To date, Comic Relief USA has raked in more than $50 million.
He Hauntingly Channeled His Inner Bad Guy
Williams could play a scary serial killer. Very well. And here’s the proof.
Williams Could Rap, Too…
For Robin Williams everything under the pop culture umbrella was fair game. So during an blooper reel of his last television project, CBS’ The Crazy Ones, Williams fired off this memorable outtake of a hip-hop staple. Yes, that’s Salt & Pepa’s “Push It” getting a quick walk through. Williams had no shame. Thank the comedy Gods for that.